WASHINGTON – Arnoldo Rueda-Medina, known by several aliases including “La Minsa,” arrived in the United States today from Mexico to face criminal charges in connection with his top leadership roles in the “La Familia-Michoacan” Mexican drug cartel, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Clyde E. Shelley, Jr. of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division.

Rueda-Medina, 47, made his initial appearance in federal court in Dallas this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Horan on charges outlined in a second superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Texas in September 2010.  That indictment charges Rueda-Medina with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

On Feb. 25, 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned Rueda-Medina under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for his involvement in drug trafficking.  The Kingpin Act blocks all property and interests in property, subject to U.S. jurisdiction, owned or controlled by significant foreign narcotics traffickers, as identified by the President.  The act also prohibits U.S. citizens and companies from doing any kind of business activity with Rueda-Medina, and it virtually froze all of his assets in the United States.

“This case and others like it around the country demonstrate that, when we work together with our law enforcement partners both here and in Mexico, we can bring cartel leadership to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Parker.   “That’s the whole point of the OCDETF program and it certainly worked here.”

“The tireless efforts given to capture and extradite this individual by the men and women of the DEA, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Texas, as well as our law enforcement partners throughout the DFW area and in Mexico, are countless,” said Special Agent in Charge Shelley.

The indictment alleges that from approximately September 2008 to Oct. 21, 2009, in the Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas, Rueda-Medina and 13 co-conspirators arranged for the acquisition of cocaine and methamphetamine from supply sources affiliated with the “La Familia-Michoacan” Mexican drug cartel, arranged to transport these multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine from Michoacan, Mexico, and other locations to North Texas and elsewhere, and transported U.S. currency representing drug proceeds to Michoacan, Mexico, to pay for these cocaine and methamphetamine shipments.

The indictment further alleges that during the same time, Rueda-Medina and the 13 co-conspirators coordinated the delivery of drug proceeds, used the drug proceeds to rent residences in North Texas that were subsequently used to store both drugs and drug proceeds, and disposed of the drug proceeds in a manner and with the intent to promote or assist the conspiracy.

A federal indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and it is a formal charging document notifying the defendant of the charges.  All persons charged in an indictment are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  If convicted on the drug conspiracy, Rueda-Medina faces a statutory sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison and up to a $4 million fine.  If convicted on the money laundering conspiracy, Rueda-Medina faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Dallas Police Department and the Garland Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations provided special assistance.   The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance in bringing the defendant to the United States to face charges.

The Justice Department extends its gratitude to the Government of Mexico for their extensive cooperation and assistance in securing the extradition of Rueda-Medina to the United States.

This case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The principal mission of OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.